New York, NY—DJI, a leading maker of unmanned aerial vehicles, launched the Phantom 4 drone. It is said to be the first consumer quadcopter camera to use advanced computer vision and sensing technology to make professional aerial imaging easier.
The drone’s camera is an aerial-optimized 4K imaging device. DJI upgraded it with improved optics for better corner sharpness and reduced chromatic aberration.
The Phantom 4 also expands on previous generations of DJI’s Phantom line by adding onboard intelligence to make piloting and shooting photos simple. Feature highlights include an obstacle sensing system, ActiveTrack and TapFly functionality.
“With the Phantom 4, we are entering an era where even beginners can fly with confidence,” said Frank Wang, DJI’s CEO. “People have dreamed about one day having a drone collaborate creatively with them. That day has arrived.”
The obstacle sensing system uses two forward-facing optical sensors that scan for obstacles. It automatically directs the craft around the impediment when possible. This reduces risk of collision, while ensuring flight direction remains constant. If the system determines the craft cannot go around an obstacle, it will slow to a stop and hover until redirected. Obstacle avoidance also engages if the user triggers the drone’s “Return to Home” function, to reduce the risk of collision when automatically flying back to its take off point.
With ActiveTrack, the drone allows users running the DJI Go app on iOS or Android devices to keep the camera centered on the subject as it moves. They simply tap the subject on their smartphone or tablet.
The Phantom 4 is also said to understand 3D images. It uses machine learning to keep the object in the shot, even when the subject changes its shape or turns while moving. Users have control over camera movement while in ActiveTrack mode. They can even move the camera around an object while it is in motion. The drone will automatically keep the subject framed in the center of the shot. A pause button on the Phantom 4’s remote controller lets users halt an autonomous flight at any time, leaving the drone to hover.
By using the TapFly function in the app, users can double-tap a destination for their Phantom 4 on the screen. The drone will then calculate an optimal flight route to the destination, while avoiding obstructions. If they tap another spot, the Phantom 4 will transition toward that destination.
The Phantom 4 also has DJI’s proprietary Lightbridge video transmission system. This permits users to see what their camera sees in HD and in real-time on their smart devices up to a distance of 3.1 miles.
Redesigned and Refined Phantom
The Phantom 4’s form factor, still the classic quadcopter style, was refined with more aerodynamic lines. Its frame incorporates a lightweight composite core to provide enhanced stability and more agile flight. And a redesigned gimbal provides more stability and vibration dampening. It has also been repositioned for a better center of gravity and to reduce the risk of propellers getting in the shot.
In addition, enhancements to motor efficiency, power management and a new intelligent battery extend the Phantom 4’s flight time to 28 minutes.
Other new features include sport mode for advanced flyers. This mode enables the Phantom 4 to fly 45 mph. It also allows it to ascend and descend more rapidly than in other modes.